As God often does, topics seem to ‘fall in line.’  Today’s lesson was largely about racial reconciliation in the church. Jackson teaches that without ‘learning to walk in humility and love, lasting racial reconciliation is not really possible.’ (127) Many times believers try to force the issue of diversity and instead of true acceptance we often create tokens within the body, people who do not feel valued and loved. I liked that Jackson points out that the spiritual body of Christ is already unified. Yet, we have to be taught to recognize and celebrate this unity.

We spent a great deal of time talking about Paul’s description of himself in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. Paul says that he adapts himself to the people he wants to win for Christ. He sized people up and worked to reach them right where they were – as equals. From Jackson’s writings we glean four ways that, like Paul, we can minister.

1. We reach out to those who think their race, job, ethnicity, material goods, position – whatever – is the real source. These folk take undue pride in who they are to the point that they devalue anyone who is not like them. It’s fine to be proud to be an African American, Caucasion, Doctor, Lawyer- yet it is not okay to take that pride to the point that you look down upon those who are not like you.

2. We reach out to those who are steeped in a legalistic faith. These are the folk that say if you weren’t baptised in the name of …. you couldn’t possibly be saved. These folk have strict rules about what to wear, where to go, who to associate with, what to eat. Like Paul, we need to reach these folk for Christ.

3. We reach out to those who are Biblically illiterate. Not everyone reads or knows the word. Therefore, we can’t use the word to beat folk upside the head. We can share Christ without ever saying ‘the Bible says…’ before the person is really ready to hear it.

4. We reach out to those that we dislike or fear. This includes those for whom we would normally have disdain.

Using Paul as an example we realize that ‘understanding the worldview of others is critical to heart communication and connection.’ (130)

Finally, Jackson teaches that there were five dimensions of training that David took men through on their journey to reconciliation with God and man. The steps are:

– Prayer (and praise) -Believers can never take a vacation from prayer and devotion to God. Prayer and praise are daily disciplines if we want to be successful.

– Protection -We live under God’s protective cover. Bishop Charles Blake, my pastor from my California days, used to say it like this – ‘God best protects where God directs.’ Living under God’s protection is a choice we make.

– Provision – Everything we have and all we are is dependent upon God. We must never lose sight of this. God is our source. Everything else is one of the vehicles God uses to meet our needs.

– Positive proclamations – We must recall the power of our words which have creative power. What we say is what we get! (135)

– Probity – I loved this word once I looked it up so I’d understand it 🙂  Probity means complete integrity, strong moral principles, PROVEN honesty/integrity. In other words, probity speaks to consistently doing the right thing, even when no one is looking and in such a way that people can trust your integrity. Most of us have integrity, fall down and have to get back on the road. That’s ok. God always allows u-turns. But there is a special anointing on the one whose integrity is so important that they are willing to go the extra mile to do what God says do and be where God says be. That’s what I’m striving for.

Be blessed!


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